Jaz Harold Geode

Dimensions:
10 x 13 x 34"

Description:
Polyurethane resin, quartz crystals, thread, cashmere and merino yarns, metal stand. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2011

Jaz Harold Geode

Dimensions:
10 x 13 x 34"

Description:
Polyurethane resin, quartz crystals, thread, cashmere and merino yarns, metal stand. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2011

Jaz Harold Geode

Dimensions:
10 x 13 x 34"

Description:
Polyurethane resin, quartz crystals, thread, cashmere and merino yarns, metal stand. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2011

Jaz Harold Bloom

Dimensions:
20 x 18 x 11"

Description:
Polyurethane resin, oil paint, plush, thread, yarn. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
February 2012

Jaz Harold Bloom

Dimensions:
20 x 18 x 11"

Description:
Polyurethane resin, oil paint, plush, thread, yarn. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
February 2012

Jaz Harold Overgrowth

Dimensions:
23 x 40 x 12.5"

Description:
Plaster, fabric, poly­fil, thread, staples, silicone, tassels. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
September 2013

Jaz Harold Overgrowth

Dimensions:
23 x 40 x 12.5"

Description:
Plaster, fabric, poly­fil, thread, staples, silicone, tassels. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
September 2013

Jaz Harold Overgrowth

Dimensions:
23 x 40 x 12.5"

Description:
Plaster, fabric, poly­fil, thread, staples, silicone, tassels. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
September 2013

Jaz Harold Arthritis

Dimensions:
4 x 3.5 x 5.5"

Description:
Silicone, thread. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2013

Jaz Harold Arthritis

Dimensions:
4 x 3.5 x 5.5"

Description:
Silicone, thread. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2013

Jaz Harold Arthritis

Dimensions:
4 x 3.5 x 5.5"

Description:
Silicone, thread. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
October 2013

Jaz Harold Consumation, detail

Dimensions:
18 x 18 x 18"

Description:
Silicone, styrofoam, nylon rope, metal washers. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
May 2013

Jaz Harold Consumation, installation view

Dimensions:
18 x 18 x 18"

Description:
Silicone, styrofoam, nylon rope, metal washers. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
May 2013

Jaz Harold Cohabitation

Dimensions:
7.5 x 3.25 x 3.25"

Description:
Silicone resin, quartz crystals. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
February 2013

Jaz Harold Cohabitation

Dimensions:
7.5 x 3.25 x 3.25"

Description:
Silicone resin, quartz crystals. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
February 2013

Jaz Harold Queen of the Harpies

Dimensions:
12 x 5 x 24"

Description:
Felting wool, yarn, fabric, poly­fil, thread, glass eyes, polyurethane resin, oil paint, false lashes, metal stand. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
April 2012

Jaz Harold Queen of the Harpies

Dimensions:
12 x 5 x 24"

Description:
Felting wool, yarn, fabric, poly­fil, thread, glass eyes, polyurethane resin, oil paint, false lashes, metal stand. Photograph by Mats Nordman. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
April 2012

Jaz Harold Wet Kiss

Dimensions:
5.5 x 5.5 x 1.75"

Description:
Plush, poly­fil, silicone. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
December 2012

Jaz Harold Valley of the Sirens

Dimensions:
5 x 7’ (additional hanging braided fabric length variable)

Description:
Fabric, yarn, fabric, stretched canvas, thread, poly­fil. Image © Jaz Harold. Used here by kind permission from the artist. All rights reserved.

Created:
May 2012

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Jaz Harold
Uninhibited Innocence

New York based artist Jaz Harold creates pieces made primarily of fabrics, yarns, silicone, and polyurethane resin that are soft, inviting, and playfully sexual, without being vulgar.

The artist has previously described the aesthetics in her work as appealing to “childlike naïveté” helping her to soften the emphasis on the ego, ritual, intimacy, and stigma that society generally attaches to sex: “Cherry blossoms (sakura) are a perfect balance of sexual innuendo, beauty, and innocence. The cherry blossom, symbolizing love in many cultures, adds an additional element in a body of work that covers both areas: an innocent love and a simple uninhibited lust.”

The subversive nature of these candy-coloured works does not yet lie in its overt sexual undertones and overtones alone: sublimation and fetishism reveal the hidden power of horror. Harold’s preference for fragmented gestures, postures, or figures, her material juxtaposition of elements, textures, and motifs – with repeated insistence on hair, lips, hands, and severed heads – de-centres the aesthetic perspective to create a substantial, material, and organic displacement. Her use of the traditional Japanese weaving technique of ‘chirimen’ developed some 500 years ago gives birth to soft sculptures that, while often neglected in the fine art world, create a dynamic tension between fabric and light. By covering her works in fabric, the artist shows particular interest in how fabric absorbs the light and makes the sculptures look softer; this also gives the sculptures a pastel shade and creates a surreal sense of their presence.

Originally an illustrator, Harold creates sculptures that also de-centre the singularity of the figure and its polymorphic presence in the artistic discourse. Subtle and striking at the same time, the colours reflect the artist’s interest for inner dialogue, self-reflection, and a certain nostalgia that repeats throughout her body of works. What is apparently abject also exerts insuppressible fascination; the light cast upon the fabric averts to the darker undersides of pleasure; the cuts and juxtapositions emphasize the impression of marks in the sensory. These figures could also be seen as disfigurements – the various cuts, forms, and colourful volumes reveal hidden and partial interiorities, strange yet attractive deformities, or innocent postures.

In Geode especially [images 1-3], the skin and flesh are torn apart to reveal sharp-edged crystals and a clear cut, “a field of death” that defines the human face (Artaud). The smoothness of the volume contrasts the sharp incision and the deep, unsettling cut that fascinates through its very strangeness. The crystals are expressive of an internal fracture and intimate instability that underline emotional imbalances. The severed head in Bloom [images 4-5] makes it unclear whether the figure is caught in an expression of pleasure or suffering, blurring the line between emotional states and revealing divided or unreconciled self-perceptions. Harold’s use of a transparent sensuality confronts the viewer with the sublime and the castrating, unraveling the full force of the horror of the feminine. The artist reverses the experience of imbalance with an almost cathartic effect, focusing not on the erotic displacement but on the states and individual appropriation of (symbolic) aggressions.

Text by Sabin Bors, April 21, 2015

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